- In this lesson, I demonstrate how to format a disk or disk partition to the NTFS format. In Windows, there are three file system options to choose from when you're formatting, NTFS, FAT32, and the older, and rarely used, FAT, also known as FAT16. FAT32 and FAT16 were used in earlier versions of Windows, such as Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millennium Edition. The NTFS system provides better performance and data security than the older file systems and is the preferred system for Windows 10.
NTFS has many benefits over the earlier FAT file systems, including the capability to recover from some disk-related errors automatically, which FAT32 cannot, improved support for larger disks. You can't create a FAT32 partition greater than 32 gigabytes, and you can't store a file larger than four gigabytes, on a FAT32 partition, and better security, since you can use permissions and encryption on NTFS drives to restrict access to specific files to approved users.
The only really good reason to use FAT32 is if you have a computer that will sometimes run Windows 95 or Windows 98, and other times will run Windows 10 in a multi-boot configuration. You'll need to install the earlier operating system on a FAT32 or a FAT partition, and then, ensure that it's a primary partition or one that can host an operating system. Any additional partitions you'll need should be also formatted with FAT32, so that the Windows versions can run on them. To convert a hard disk or partition to the NTFS format, You want to open up the File Explorer, and simply right-click on the drive or partition you want to format, and choose Format from the contextual menu.
Notice that you can chose the file system, FAT32, exFAT, FAT (Default), or NTFS. Can also provide a volume label, and then, Quick Format or the Regular Format. I'm going to go ahead and just do the Quick Format. Click on Start. I get a warning that Formatting will erase ALL the data on the disk. Click OK to proceed with the formatting. You'll get this Format Complete dialog. Click OK to close it out, and then, close out the other dialog. Now, if you have a drive or partition that uses an older file system, you can also convert it to NTFS instead of formatting it.
This will save all the data on the partition but will still convert it to NTFS. To convert a disk to the NTFS format, click on the Windows icon in the lower left-hand corner. In the search box, just type in cmd, and choose Command Prompt from the Best match. That will give you the Command Prompt. Then, type here on the first line of the Command Prompt convert, the drive letter. In my case, it was h:/fs :ntfs, and then, press the return key, and it'll go ahead and proceed with the formatting.
If the partition you are converting contains system files, which would be the case if you're converting a hard disk that the operating system was installed on, you'll need to restart your computer for the conversion to take place. If your disk is almost full, the conversion process might not succeed. If you receive an error, try deleting unnecessary files or backup files to another location to free up disk space. Also, after you convert a partition to NTFS, you cannot convert it back. If you want to use the FAT file system on the partition again, you'll need to reformat the partition, which erases all the data on it.
Some earlier versions of Windows cannot read data on local NTFS partitions. If you need to use an earlier version of Windows to access a partition on the computer, don't convert it to NTFS. Let's go back and look at that disk. Notice that it still has a file on it even though I did convert it to NTFS. Whereas, if I formatted, that file would be deleted.
Using the tools that come with a standard Windows build, James Gonzalez shows how to configure data storage (on client devices and on OneDrive), secure data with good authentication practices, encrypt data with EFS and BitLocker, and manage data access to shared folders, printers, and hard drives. He also shows how to set up file sharing for an organization using HomeGroup networks and NTFS permissions.
This course is also part of a series designed to help you prepare for the Microsoft exam 70-697: Configuring Windows Devices.
- Identify which storage usage category you should select to check how much space your downloads folder is using on your Windows drive.
- Name the type of storage space resiliency you should select to turn two physical drives into one logical drive.
- Describe the steps needed to access the NTFS permissions for a specific folder.
- List the actions required to share a printer with users on the same network.
- State how to use file explorer to open your PC instead of quick access.
- List the steps to add folder permissions for a specific folder.